Part 1: Getting your head into the game
Ahhh, Procrastination. That uneasy, sweaty, looming agita of an untouched task.
We all know the stressful feeling that an unchecked to-do list brings. Perhaps it was an album waiting to be designed; a difficult client conversation to be had; that educational video you have been meaning to watch but you tuned into Real Housewives instead.
We’re all guilty of procrastination from time to time. Some of us have taken it to an art form, or dismiss it is as a genetic trait. STOP. RIGHT. THERE.
Procrastination strikes us like a computer virus. It’s sudden, we blame external factors, we have no idea how to fix it.
BUT, have you ever really thought about WHY you’re procrastinating? Once demystified, you can deprogram your “procrastination bug” to be the productive genius you were born to be.
Procrastination is a pretty simple formula:
Procrastination = Fear + Justification *(x) Time.
FEARS sound something like this:
- “Do I really know what I am doing with this business?” (Lack of Confidence)
- “She is going to hate the way this retouching looks.” (External Factor Presumptions)
- “I am not really sure what I’m doing here with this price guide, so I’ll do it later.” (Fear of the Unknown)
JUSTIFICATIONS are merely your brain’s way of ensuring your body/mind comfort. They sound like this:
- “I work hard… and deserve to watch Real Housewives of Atlanta right now.”
- “Rainy days are a good time to sleep in.”
- “I don’t want the client call to kill my mood today.”
Multiplied by units of TIME, you have a fairly large procrastination problem.
What we often fail to realize is that procrastination, while it puts off the inevitable in a temporary fashion, actually wreaks havoc to our creative brains. It yields MORE stress. It robs us of our creative energy, stimulates worries and hinder any business-minded focus. In turn, a DELAYED ACTION causes a “REACTION.”
Ultimately, a less creative, focused YOU means your business will also suffer.
Here are my “tough love” tips to deprogram procrastination:
- Identify your fears. What are you afraid of? Is this fear accurate? Or presumed? Get to the core of the fear and weigh if the fear is so great, that you need to call in help or outsource to overcome it.
- Squash Justifications with Pampering. Yes, earn your keep. But, if you provide yourself with ample and well-deserved nurturing, you will have less reason to justify ridiculous excuses for laziness.
- Make sure your goals are clear, achievable and written down somewhere. I sometimes identify the outcome for even the simplest tasks that I want to accomplish (“Get the template for pricing page design by Tuesday”) so that the fear-building task has no time to incubate.
- Eliminate the distractions. Self-explanatory
- A Visible accomplishment list. Seeing what you produced in a unit of time (a day, a week, a month) really does prevent further procrastination.
Now, go wipe out that the procrastination bug… You’re a glorious productivity machine, damnit!